Entrepreneurial Paradoxes 1


Entrepreneurship is filled with paradoxes which people need to balance. It can be confusing sometimes when one engages these apparent contradictions. A paradox is a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.  In the next few postings we discuss a few paradoxes of entrepreneurship that every business start up owner needs to be aware of. Ignorance of these often lead to frustration or giving up on one’s dream of financial independence.

The Paradox of Entrepreneurship
The Paradox of Entrepreneurship

While we often speak of business opportunities, it is possible that  an opportunity with no or very low potential can be an enormously big opportunity. It depends on the mindset of the entrepreneur. Business opportunities are not always obvious.  A story is told of a white commercial farmer who used to send farm workers and labourers to pick up some white stones and bring to him. He paid $10 for every bucket load of white stones. The workers thought this farmer was crazy and they called him vaMatombo (Mr Stones). Little did they realise that these white stones were alluvial diamonds. He saw potential when everyone else was seeing stones. Some were even using these white stones (diamonds) for killing birds with stone slings.

This principle is also noticed in real estate investing. Many amateur investors will leave a cheap apparently dilapidated property which is structurally sound because they are looking for a nice looking property. They do not realise that this apparently dilapidated property is a diamond in the dirt. It needs someone to just polish and then expose its beauty through renovation. An old run down property may be an opportunity which is not apparent until an astute real estate developer notices it buys it cheaply and converts this eye sore of a property into lucrative and luxurious  cluster homes.

To make money you may have to first lose money. Or put another way before you can have a harvest you have to plant or sow your seed. In investment terms we often speak of investing money that you can afford to lose. You have to invest something you desperately need in order to make money. When you start a business you will need to invest finances when you least afford it. Its like priming a water tap with water before you can get water out of the tap. Some people want to harvest where they have not sown. They want people to fund their business dreams without them putting any of their own cash or effort at risk. You have to be willing to risk or lose your money for you to make money. Sometimes like in multilevel marketing you may risk minimal amounts of money to start a business. But in these cases you will still invest lots of time and energy (which can be viewed in monetary terms) before you make money. The wise people opt for businesses that require minimal capital to start and lots of sweat capital. Multilevel marketing opportunities such as SFI and Forever Living are great examples. They exchange sweat capital for financial investments.

To recap: To make money in entrepreneurship you may need to lose money (or its time and energy equivalent). What looks like a non-opportunity may be a massive opportunity for business. What are the things that are in your hands that you are discounting their business opportunity value? Are you willing to lose your money , time or effort in order to make money? What will you exchange for the wealth you are pursuing? Invest time and money.

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